Patriarchy is the root of toxic masculinity in men all around the world. Men are having to live up to certain standards in the category society puts them in.
These things are seen in movies, books, workplaces. An example of patriarchy takes place in the book This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz. The genre of this book is short story/fiction, and takes place in the present-day in New Jersey and Santo Domingo, which is where Yunior lives throughout the book. In this book, there are a lot of examples of patriarchy. Feminist theory opens into topic, social issues that are overlooked because of the dominant male perspective. Many people think feminist theory only focuses on women and thinks it is a way to show women are more superior than men.
But the truth is it shines a light on to people made “inferior” by men, such as women and people of color. There are inequalities within the system of man and woman, black and white, and rich and poor. For example, men get paid more than women, men get higher jobs than women, black people are treated with discrimination while white people are praised. Rich people have greater opportunities than people who are in poverty, and the list goes on of the superiority recognition that most men get. Feminist theory is trying to change these things and also expose these things to make it equal for all people.
In the book, Yunior is strongly impacted by patriarchy, the way he acts and the way he views things shows that he is taking on the views of what men are supposed to be in society. Patriarchy is the view that men are dominant and they should always be above everyone else. Yunior uses women to fill the emptiness he has inside. He treats women the way he does to hide the actual feeling he has.
For example, when he cheated on his girlfriend Alma he doesn’t really care about her feelings and he tries to make a joke of it. “Then you look at her and smile a smile your dissembling face will remember until the day you die. Baby, you say, baby, this is part of my novel. This is how you lose her” (Diaz 48). In patriarchy, men are “supposed” to cheat and lie their way out of things. Yunior does this without a thought and doesn’t care about Alma’s feelings. In addition to this, Yunior also changes what he is feeling at the time he gets caught.
“You are overwhelmed by a pelagic sadness. Sadness at being caught, at the incontrovertible knowledge that she will never forgive you” (Diaz, 48). Yunior takes on the role of Patriarchy because he hides his feelings when Alma finds out he cheated.
Yunior isn’t worried about losing her, he is more worried about getting caught. He is hiding his feelings of caring and not intentionally doing it. Yunior also takes upon the actions of the male roles he has in his life. Yunior’s brother, Rafa is one of the male roles in his life.
Rafa treats women like they are a prize and worth nothing. “My brother was taught that it was his role to be served; to provide; to be strong; to think, strategize, and plan; and to refuse to caretaker or nurture others” (Diaz, ). Men usually look up to the male roles in their life.
This is what teaches them what a “man” is and how a man is supposed to be. In this case, his brother is teaching him that as a man you have to be strong and a leader and that you aren’t supposed to take care of others. Connecting to this, Rafa treats his girlfriend Nilda with disrespect and treats her like she is a trophy of his. Rafa was on the bus with his Yunior, his brother, and Nilda, his girlfriend. Rafa put his hand up Nilda’s skirt in public, degrading her and Nilda didn’t do anything about it. “When we were getting off the bus Rafa pulled me aside and held his hand in front of my nose. Smell this, he said. This, he said, is what’s wrong with women” (Diaz 34).
Rafa treats his girlfriend with disrespect and sets that example for Yunior. Patriarchy collides with this because it is showing that Rafa is dominant in the relationships he had and he takes advantage of the women in those relationships. Yunior acts like he does because of the male gender role he has in his life. Young men are negatively impacted by patriarchy and its social views.
Young men are taught not to express their feelings because it is seen as a lack of control of yourself and also as feminine as if you are weak. An online source talks about the effect patriarchy has on young men and what is causes them to do. “Society teaches boys that to be masculine is to be self-contained, to be in control of one’s emotions”. Young boys are taught that you are not a man unless you live up to this specific standard of what a man is. In the book, Yunior does these things by hiding his feelings from his family and also the girls he gets into relationships with. Patriarchy impacts they way he lives his life and how he wants others to view him as well.
Yunior plays this role of a soulless being but in reality, he is blindly being controlled by patriarchy. In another online source, it goes into talking about how patriarchy encourages toxic masculinity. “It’s a manhood that views women and LGBT people as inferior, sees sex as an act, not of affection but domination, and which valorizes violence as the way to prove one’s self to the world”. Men in society are taught that they always have to be dominant and they always have to be better than each other as if their whole life is a competition. The book also has examples of Yunior talking about his sexual encounters with the girls he was with.
Yunior always tells his friends about the girls he has had sex with and they see it as a competition of who has sex with the most girls. The online source also talks about how patriarchy reinforces gender norms. A woman was in the grocery store and an employee teased a young boy because he wanted flower stickers and said it was for girls. “Everyday interactions like these reinforce rigid gender norms that harm people of all genders”.
Things like this cause boys to want to live up to the gender roles of what a male is “supposed” to be like. I think society should be helping to take away these gender roles rather than forcing young men to be who they think they should be. Patriarchy also encourages infidelity. Infidelity is the action or state of being unfaithful to a spouse or other sexual partner, in other words, a person cheating on the person they’re in a relationship with. In the book, Yunior is unfaithful to all the girlfriends he gets into relationships with, there are numerous times Yunior does this. “She could have caught you with one sucia, she could have caught you with two, but as you’re a totally batshit Cuero who didn’t ever empty his email trash can, she caught you with fifty”. Yunior gets caught cheating on his girlfriend with fifty other girls over email, during a six-year period.
This is an infidelity against the girl he was in a relationship with, this shows that men are inclined to cheat because of patriarchy. Even though he said he was in love he still cheated and he knew they would get back together because of the history they had so he took advantage of that. In an online source, it says infidelity is a way for men to control women. Men take advantage that a woman is in love with them so if they cheat it wouldn’t be a big deal because they will get back together because of the relationship they have together.
Men cheat because society teaches them that is it okay to do it and if they do it it makes them men and above all the other men that don’t. “Infidelity is a patriarchal way of controlling women. It is about control”. This is the way men get away with cheating on their significant other. Some women are too afraid to speak up against it so they stay with the person and puts up with whatever treatment men give them.Patriarchy creates a split between who a man is supposed to be and who a man is. It creates this idea in their heads on how society views them and what they should live out their lives to be.
Men in this world are blinded by the truth and sought out to be better than everyone else. Men affected by patriarchy are on a power trip and want dominance over all things. In the This Is How You Lose Her, Yunior is a great example of how patriarchy affects the male mind, Yunior follows the standards of patriarchy without knowing he is doing it.
He cheats on women, hides his feelings, and competes with the men around him to come out on top. The effect of patriarchy is a huge problem in the world today and we should be doing something to stop it rather than encouraging it.